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From rural Philadelphia to MIT Media Lab, to Hollywood to Oblong HQ, the career of John Underkoffler is fascinating. It isn’t often that your ideas for a better human-machine interface enjoy a worldwide test audience in the hundreds of millions. Yet this is exactly the trajectory of our CEO. He’s parlayed that history, and an abiding interest in transforming the computational world around us, into a multi-million dollar going concern. With a list of patents and a longer list of global customers hailing from government, education, business and industry, we just may get our wish to bring more power, utility, precision, and productivity to collaborators solving our most pressing problems.
Tom Ward takes a deep dive on Mezzanine, our collaboration platform that helps teams visualize and analyze information together in most effective fashion. He sits with Padraig Scully in our London office and connects with John in Los Angeles for a tour of the multi-surface, multi-screen, multi-location, multi-stream solution along with the Optical Wand that provides gesture control of the computing environment. They talk about a time where the ubiquity of this kind of capability – where the computing power of the individual is not bounded by the edge of one’s own device – will unleash an exhilarating revolution in the way work gets done.
Later, Tom catches up with John in Los Angeles and visits our warehouse lab where Pete Hawkes demonstrates the immersive and pixel-rich environments for stunning interaction with large-scale data visualizations that source from multiple machines and spread across dozens of screens. (The BBC’s Spencer Kelly made a similar visit a couple years back for BBC Click.) It’s reflective of the prototyping we do for IBM Watson.
“People ask about developing a portable VR version [of the software], but that wouldn’t be a shared experience,” explains B Cavello, from Watson. “When you’re making strategic decisions, and checking people’s facial expression to check everyone is on the same page, that level of disconnect doesn’t really work for us. Having a space where you can have a conversation and navigate the content immersively is really valuable.”
Read up in WIRED and be sure to share the article with colleagues and friends. Then, get in touch when you’re ready to bring multi-share to your teams and advanced technology solutions to your business.
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